Abbott files new charges.

Texas attorney general Greg Abbott on Wednesday (Dec. 21) added new allegations to his state's pending lawsuit against Sony BMG Music Entertainment for causing harm to consumers who purchased copy-protected compact discs.

The additional charges fall under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which codifies the state's spyware and deceptive trade practices laws. Abbott's filing asserts that MediaMax software gets installed on user's PCs even if they click "no" to refuse the offered license agreement, a claim previously levied by the Electronic Frontiers Foundation in its Nov. 21 lawsuit.

"We keep discovering additional methods Sony used to deceive Texas consumers who thought they were simply buying music," Abbott said. "Thousands of Texans are now potential victims of this deceptive game Sony played with consumers for its own purposes."

Abbott also broadened the battlefield by sending retailers a letter urging them to remove all affected product from their shelves lest they share responsibility for any damages.

"These CDs open the door for malicious hackers to target consumers' computers," Abbott said. "Hackers may be using the Sony files to install viruses, malware or even commit identity theft. Retailers that continue to sell these CDs may be just as liable under the law as Sony."

Texas' original suit alleged that Sony BMG's copy-protected CDs violate state laws against spyware and make computers vulnerable to attack.

The CDs in question are protected by Extended Copy Protection technology from the British company First 4 Internet and MediaMax technology from SunnComm -- products designed to deter piracy by circumscribing how consumers use the music on the discs.

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